Monday, March 23, 2015

I Can Move Forward

We need not be passively resigned to the problems of life.  
We need not give up and stop fighting for what we believe in; 
there is always hope, and as long as there is hope, 
we can move forward.
-Christine Caine Undaunted

I'm sitting in my bed in my usual tshirt and nike shorts and was on my way to pulling up Netflix for the night when my internet went out. It's gone out twice before, once for a whole day and once for a short time, but who knows how long it would be this time.  I looked across my bed at my desk full of homework assignments that I should start but justifiably can't because of the loss of internet connection.  I see two unfinished books but I really don't want to read right now: The Green Mile and Undaunted.   I try to scan my brain for more options, something that takes less effort.  Nothing.  It's only 8pm and it's too early to sleep.  Against my own will, my hands grab for a book, Undaunted,  as I take a sigh of grief because I really just don't want to read.
If you read my last post, I talked about wanting to pick up books I've put down recently and finishing prayers.  This isn't one of those nights that I felt in an optimistic cheerful mood.  But I relented. There was nothing else to keep me occupied and I felt a strange yearning that I needed to just do it.  I opened the page where I had left off and read the title.  "God is not unfair, silent, or hidden."
Well this should be good.  Because recently God has most certainly been unfair. He has been silent. And he has been hidden.
Just days ago, I wrote into my notebook, "God, where are you?" It's a question i've had in the back of my mind for the past month and half now.  Literally that's all I wrote. "March 18th, 2015 'God, where are you?'"  At home, I have community. I have quiet times, I have Jesus-loving friends, I have people that uphold me, I have amazing roommates, I love my church, I love the way that I get to live and know the presence of God.  Why, here in the most beautiful place i've ever been, am I questioning him?  Never before have I felt so intensely like screaming, crying, yelling, punching, and balling my fists up so tight at the same time that I explode.  I can't put into words the anger i've had and the frustration, reading Job and Lamentations. God where are you? Where did you go? Why did you leave me?
I've told my friends that this just isn't me any more.
"So I say, 'i'm finished. God is gone, my splendor is gone, and all that I had hoped from the Lord.'" Lamentations 3.
This is the most aggravating, irritating, frustrating, and exasperating, experience i've ever been through.  I've never felt so empty and alone and confused.  I've been angry at the Lord.  So angry that I thought "if I'm gonna pray, I sure am gonna give him a piece of my mind." And that's what I did.  And I felt pain and hurt and sorrow pierce me with every word that I wrote.
I had a friend ask me, how is your spiritual life?
I started thinking, and I said, "you know, God is too big to me here. Too omnicient. He was so present in everything at first that I just don't seem him anymore. I use to see him in the colors and the scenery on my way to school.  I saw him in the small things, the little details.  I see those everyday now and I don't see Him."  Going back to one of my first posts, I remember how awestruck I was at his splendor, the way he constructed this country and every detail of the people in it.  But once I saw it, I wanted more, and those first few amazements eventually became the normal everyday thing.  Is it possible that God is so obvious that it blinds you from seeing Him?  I've been furious, bitter with God.  "Come back" I would beg.  "Just explain to me what you're doing and I will follow but I don't understand and I need something to hold on to. I just want to understand."

Page 91 of my book:
"Jobs friends spoke up and offered him the worlds wisdom, 
which helped him not at all.  
Finally God spoke- but he didn't answer. Instead, 
he merely said that he was God, all-powerful and all-knowing,
 and that Job had no reason or right to question Him. 
And never, in the entire story, did God find it necessary to explain himself." 

That's just it.  As a finite being, I want answers.  I want realness and genuinity and a concrete something to hold onto.  But God is infinite.  He doesn't respond in the ways that we're accustomed to because he's bigger and greater than that.  I went from a personal God in my own creation to a God that was way out of my control and too big to comprehend. I can praise God that his ways are not my ways.  It wasn't God that abandoned me.  It was me that needed to return to his truth and not my own.  I am not truth. What I tell myself is not truth.  It was me that stopped listening.  It was me that set our relationship down. And it was Him who took me to the place of seeing again.  Having a relationship with the Lord for years now, I never thought it would be possible for me to go into a new place and doubt his goodness and everything i've been taught over the years.  I knew I could do it. I knew that I could withstand trial and testing. I knew that I could stand firm in the Lord no matter what came my way.  Wow did God reveal to me how much of His strength that I need to rely on. I am so weak. And I still know nothing.

"The weight of my grief and the burden of feeling alone spilled out; peace and confidence in the Lord's love and care poured in.  The words became my sacrifice, an offering to the Lord, who had already walked the road of suffering before me and now returned to meet me on it.  I was in communion with him, knowing he wanted to bless me with ‘beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair’ (Isaiah 61:3). A spiritual exchange took place: I magnified the Lord instead of my disappointment. I began to remember his mercies more than my hurt.” - Christine Caine Undaunted

It's been a long two month journey of questions and confusion, hurt and tears,  but so much growth and conversation and unspoken answers. I'm waking up now with a new view. I won't give up or stop fighting for the very thing my soul loves and needs. I have hope and therefore, I can move forward. 

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